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This post is the sixth in a seven-part series that provides updates on the current status of accessibility in the European Union and across individual countries in the Union. We welcome any comments, thoughts and corrections on the posts with the goal of helping of ensure the best information possible to our partners and customers.

Preceding posts in this series are as follows:

The Minister of Interior and Kingdom provided a decision effective September 1, 2006 that requires all government websites be made accessible by December 31, 2010. As part of the decision, a set of standards known as the Web Guidelines was designated to define the level of accessibility of government web sites. The Guidelines are broadly based on WCAG 1.0 requirements but include other extensions and modifications deemed relevant to the situation in the Netherlands.

The exact application of the law to websites is unclear, as the requirements for websites to be accessible are based on a series of agreements between portions of the Dutch federal government and the various provinces. So while it does not directly bear the weight of law in effect, accessibility is seen as a requirement for public sector websites. Specifically, the user of the Web Guidelines is mandatory of federal government organizations, provinces, municipalities and certain public private partnerships.

Private sector organizations are welcome to utilize the Web Guidelines as a measure of accessibility, but no specific legal requirements for accessibility are required for private sector organizations.